I have been to every Whare Flat Folk Festival since I was born (in fact, even when I was in the womb). It turns up, with out fail, to end one year and bring in the next in the best way I could imagine: with good music, good friends, some dancing and (ever since I was allowed) a good whiskey or two (or maybe three). Bringing in 2011 was no exception.
Second time guests, Mara!, were as stunning as ever with their phenominal sax player, Sandy Evans, blowing everyone away with her jazz licks fused with the traditional bulgarian rhythms.
Kaitrin McMullan, Andrew Bowen and Joyce Leppard brought in the new year in glorious style (or blow up fat suits should I say) followed by King Leo playing us through to the wee smalls.
The Blues Forum had all the regulars and a few extras including guest artist Dave Murphy.
Other guests at the festival included local and national acts such as Footspa, Steve McGlone, Mike Harding, Jackie Bristow, Matt Langley, youth guest Hazel Cunliffe, as well as other youngsters (I can use this term now) BB and Alex with their dueling banjos. We can’t forget the amazing musicians from across the water though, String Contingent, who got a standing ovation from the crowd at the end of their afternoon concert. Maona House had a concert of their own this year and it was awe inspiring the power that flowed off that stage.
Lovers of dance had a great set of workshops run by Cashy Yates as well as a great surprise when a couple of Irish dancing brothers turned up from the states (one who has is currently dancing with Michael Flatly) and flailed their legs about for our delight and appreciating whoops and hollers.
But the real highlight for me was seeing Maura Hewton-Turner performing again. She has an amazing voice and is becoming a real performer. She’s one to watch for sure.
The wavering weather conditions were no match for a well-built marquee and a bunch of folkies out for a good time. Show us what you’re made of 2011, we’re ready for you!